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American Airlines CARE Program

To assist passengers and their families after major aircraft-related emergencies, American Airlines created the Customer Assistance Relief Effort (CARE). Formed in 1993, the CARE team carries out the airline's Survivor/Family Assistance Plan in accordance with the Aviation Disaster Family Assistance Act of 1996.

CARE team members are mobilized through a notification process that makes them available to help almost immediately. Composed of over 1,000 specially trained volunteers from the ranks of American and American Eagle, members speak more than 60 languages. When needed, one group works to rapidly establish contact with those involved, while others are assigned to provide direct personal assistance.

CARE volunteers are assigned to passengers, crewmembers and their families, and perform various duties. For example, they may make flight arrangements, assist with other transportation, arrange hotel accommodations, provide food and emergency clothing, assist with the return of personal belongings, and help keep passengers and families informed. Upon request, CARE team members will also escort passengers and/or family members attending scheduled accident-related events, including memorial services, funerals and visits to the accident site. While CARE team members do not perform counseling or other emotional support functions, they will coordinate access to the appropriate professionals on request.

Behind the scenes, CARE leadership directs the team's efforts from the CARE Operations Center in Fort Worth, Texas. The team also forms working liaisons with the National Transportation Safety Board's Office of Transportation Disaster Assistance, the American Red Cross, and other supporting agencies and organizations.

The unique nature of their role places heavy demands on team members' time, home life, and emotions. In preparation, employees participate in an intensive two-day training session, developed by American with assistance from emergency management consultants and employees involved with previous emergencies. The training provides volunteers with detailed information about logistics, the company's crisis plan, the CARE program, and the emotional aspects of accident response. Volunteers may only join CARE after successfully completing training and discussing the commitment with their families. As a result, the CARE team is thus motivated, well prepared, and always ready to provide assistance in the aftermath of aircraft-related emergencies.

CARE volunteers can be found around the world, including the United States, Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Japan, Mexico and Canada.

Revised July 2008